Actually, you would probably have to drug and/or roger me with a rifle to get me to read the NME, let alone buy music on the sttrength of their views on the music world. A curiously appropriate analogy you chose there - in much the same way as the output of the NME is relentlessly purile, self-satisfied verbal masturbation of the most juvenile kind, so is much of the drivel that spews from around the country into the King's Road. I don't like Chelsea, I might add. They've always been a turgid gaggle of small-time wannabes, mired in a preposterous delusion about their true meaning to the world. But that's got nothing to do with Russion oil gangsters and their nouveau-riche impulses - nor with the natural way in which such behaviour chimes with Stamford Bridge's natural clientele. Which means I see no reason for, nor purpose in, now affording them some specially-minted form of hostility. Chelsea were a bunch of cocks long before they started wearing trousers to go with that mouth. On the more specific point of Essien, I stand by what I've said. He's no more a "dirty bastard" than any other player who has, on a couple of occasions, been shown to hit harder than is now deemed acceptable. Steven Gerrard, say. The outcry over such play says more about the bullshit nature of the game these days than it does about the players involved. I'd put forward a similar defence if we were talking about any other strong midfield player for any other side. Essien's tackle on Hamann and on Ben Taim (IIRC) were beyond what is today acceptable, but that's about it. The shrill hysteria that the tackles caused has nothing to with him or the wellbeing of the players he targteted and everything to do with this faddish need to project a blanket air of malevolence on all things Chelsea that we are all suddenly expected to feel. You, just by the by, prove that point with your closing remarks on Lucas Neill. You're not motivated to speak out on this by a desire to protect players from potential harm, you're just driven to have a pop at a Chelsea player. Sorry, but they're too small-time for me to engage in such trite fashions. No one cared about Chelsea players doing anything when those players were Paul Elliot or Robert Fleck. Now its a major topic of conversation amongst the chattering classes every time the kit man blows his nose. Got no time for it.